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House of Commons public meeting: GMB’s industrial dispute with Carillion

Tuesday 10 July, 6 – 7pm
Grand Commitee Room, House of Commons. Speakers include:

Chuka Umanna MP – Shadow Business Secretary
Kate Green MP – Shadow Women and Equalities
Iain Wright MP – Shadow Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)
Ian Murray MP – Shadow BIS Employment Affairs
Dave Smith – construction worker blacklisted by Carillion
GMB campaigners from Swindon, in dispute with Carillion at the Great Western Hospital

A Summary of the dispute so far

  • 150 workers, (mainly Asian women of Goan heritage) have been subjected to racial abuse, bullying, and extortion by their employer Carillion.
  • They are employed as cleaners, catering workers and ancillary staff at The Great Western Hospital (GWH), Swindon and have already taken 20 days of strike action for dignity and respect.
  • These workers are the back bone of the NHS – keeping wards clean, delivering meals – dedicated to their jobs which they take great personal pride in.
  • Carillion managers at GWH and their Employee Committee are predominantly white.

Background

In summer 2011, the workers joined GMB making the Union aware of racial abuse, intimidation and harassment, as well as supervisors demanding money, gold and goods to secure employment, gain access to extended leave and overtime. (Extended leave is significant for workers who have family in other parts of the world.)

Some examples from the signed statements of Carillion Workers

  • The Senior Housekeeping Supervisor “asked her for £1000. The member told X that was too much and so X said she would accept £500.”
  • Carillion Supervisor said – “Well, I am the manager and I can sack you and if you give me gold I will let you keep your job.”

Sequence of events

  • Following a collective grievance, Carillion reluctantly conducted a first investigation and concluded that there was no case to answer on any point of any grievance.
  • A second investigation took place, only after strike action by the workers. In the outcome Carillion accepted that extortion had taken place. Carillion told GMB they had “reluctantly accepted the resignation” of the Senior Supervisor at the centre of the shakedowns and extortion. However other perpetrators of racial abuse and extortion are still employed. Despite the allegations, evidence and investigation findings, nobody has ever been suspended and their presence continues to intimidate the workers.

Victimisation

  • Carillion are now disciplining 10 of the whistle-blowers who bravely came forward to give evidence against supervisors, who had abused employees, extorted money and practiced racism.
  • Confidence in Carillion management has broken down.

Blacklisting

The Information Commissioner has confirmed that 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion and that the company has failed to apologise and compensate for this illegal activity.

Issues

  • Racial harassment and bullying
  • Victimisation
  • Extortion and corruption
  • Blacklisting
  • GMB recognition

Going Forward

GMB has in place a legal, industrial and political strategy to ensure our members get justice. NB – Carillion are sub contractors to Semperian PPP, who owns the PFI contract at GWH. Carillion are taking over £15 billion of public money on public contracts like GWH.

For further information on the Carillion dispute, please see:

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